Leadership

ATTA Team

Shannon Stowell

Shannon Stowell

CEO, ATTA


“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
~Soren Kierkegaard

Shannon Stowell leads the ATTA as CEO after re-starting the organization in 2004 pursuing the vision that it could be a powerful force for good in the tourism industry. More than 25 years of business experience in adventure travel, e-commerce, outdoor retail, and environmental science have prepared him well to serve and head the organization. Shannon has been advising and speaking around the world for the last 13 years advocating for responsible adventure tourism as a powerful way for destinations to benefit from a business that sits at the intersection commerce, conservation and community. He has served as a judge for numerous sustainability awards and programs and emceed ITB Berlin’s Corporate Social Responsibility day for two years.

In addition to his role as CEO, Shannon serves on two boards, the Corporate Advisory Council of the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, born in the Obama administration by then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF). ATCF was co-founded by the ATTA and several other Adventure Leaders in the industry. Multiple Heads of States and luminaries have met with Shannon and been involved with ATTA events including the presidents of Chile, Mexico, and Namibia and he had audience with the King of Norway and the Prime Minister of Jordan- all interested in the power of travel done right.

Shannon has also been on the boards of both the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Board and the American Hiking Society. Shannon co-authored a book in 2008, published by National Geographic: Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean — A guide to 50 Extraordinary Adventures. He has also written several adventure travel articles published by National Geographic Adventure and continues to contribute to AdventureTravelNews, and other industry publications. He cut his teeth in tourism at his family’s restaurant in a mountain town in Colorado at the center of an adventure tourism economy.

Casey Hanisko

Casey Hanisko

President, Business Services + Events ATTA

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.”
~Ovid

From starting her travel career at a space voyage division of well respective Zegrahm Expeditions to launching new events and business solutions at ATTA, Casey Hanisko has spent over 20 years taking bold steps and pushing the boundaries of comfortable. Over the years she has marketed countless new innovative travel itineraries from deep sea submersible trips to in depth expeditions to countries such as Brazil, Japan, and Namibia. A creative and results driven executive, Casey’s roles have included business strategy and development, marketing, communications, and innovative product development.

As president of the business services and events division of the ATTA, Casey manages the strategic direction and dynamic team delivering an ecosystem of events and business solutions for destinations and adventure travel brands around the world. Former head of the ATTA’s marketing and communications efforts, Casey was responsible for communicating the place global adventure travel has in the context of the greater tourism industry. As president, Casey will lead the success of long term partnerships that are built to advance destinations’ efforts to support economic- and community-based initiatives. A speaker at industry events around the globe, Casey shares her expertise on adventure travel trends, branding, and travel’s evolving role in the future of communities, culture, environment, and wildlife around the world.

Luis Vargas

Luis Vargas

President, ATTA

Luis Vargas is one of the world’s premiere adventure travel executives and thought leaders. He has built and help scale meaningful travel businesses with world class brands such as Backroads, Disney, The Clymb, and REI. Luis has served on the non-profit boards of Sustainable Travel International, Young Travel Professionals, and the Adventure Cycling Association. He currently is the President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Founder and CEO of Modern Adventure.

Luis is a member of the Evergreen Chapter of the global, Young President Organization (YPO), and actively invests in and mentors early-stage travel startups including Untrodden, Bold Betties, and TripGrid. Luis recently spoke at TEDx Portland about the explorer in each of us and inspiring others to invest in experiences, instead of more stuff. He is a graduate of UCLA Anderson School of Management and is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He deeply values community, and actively invest time, and resources, in those that have the power or potential, to inspire, convene, and be catalysts for change.

Jason Reckers

Jason Reckers

Chief Operating Officer (COO), ATTA


“Adventure, for me, begins with seeing cultures worldwide come together, and, initially, all through the eyes of my laptop. Every day is a new experience filled with the education of new people, cultures, and the power the Internet has in connecting us all. Most importantly, the adventure lies in the future where we just might have the chance one day to meet those on the other side of the globe face-to-face.”
~Jason Reckers

Jason Reckers, ATTA’s Chief Operating Officer, oversees ATTA’s global day-to-day operations, working with the team on strategic direction and business management to support meeting the needs of members and partners. Jason joined ATTA in 2004 to drive the early development of the organization’s website and online strategy including AdventureTravelNews, Adventure.Travel, and The HUB. Prior to joining the ATTA, Jason was the President and CEO of PixelMill Inc. where he was responsible for partnership development, daily operations, and strategic direction of the company. Under his leadership, PixelMill contributed to the development of more than 65,000 web sites. Jason brought 15 years of experience providing web strategy guidance and training to professional services firms, trade associations, business and web consulting companies, and a host of industry sectors.

Over the years, Jason has helped launch ATTA’s online strategies, new events, development of products and services, and managed partner relationships and business development. A veteran of the Adventure Travel World Summit, Jason has presented as a speaker and panelist on topics ranging from Social Media, SEO, project management solutions, and online adventure travel product distribution. He also helps contribute to the development of tech-oriented sessions at the Summit and educational webinars.

Jason resides in Aptos, CA on the central coast of California, south of Santa Cruz. He enjoys walking the beach, hiking redwood forests, and adventuring with his wife and two children, including helping David develop his baseball skills and watching Alexa master her passion of natural horsemanship. Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, Strategic Management from California State University, Sacramento.

Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle

Executive Director - Europe & Central Asia, European Editor, AdventureTravelNews™


“My traveling mantra goes something like this: Carry adventure in your soul. Allow your imagination to run wild, always. Let ‘it’ come to you. Keep an open mind and heart. Imbue yourself in and embrace the ways of the peoples and cultures you visit. Empathize. Understand. Learn. Grow. Give back.”
~Chris Doyle

Since 2004, Chris has played a key role in the strategic direction and development of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which serves more than 1,100 members (including tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents, accommodations and industry partners) in 90 countries worldwide, each sharing a commitment to the sustainable development of adventure tourism. In addition to serving as European Editor for AdventureTravelNews™, the leading digital journal for the adventure travel trade, he oversees the ATTA’s development efforts throughout Europe. He travels frequently in collaboration with public and private organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and development agencies as an ambassador and facilitator of best practices and long-range responsible tourism development planning. Chris, who resides in Sweden and is an avid trail runner, also directed the content and execution for each of the ATTA’s first 11 Adventure Travel World Summit conference, now considered by many to be among the tourism trade’s top annual gatherings.

Chris is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is married to Emma, and has two daughters, Moa and Lyra, and two sons, Aidan and Elliot.

Manal Kelig

Manal Kelig

Executive Director — Middle East & North Africa

Manal S. Kelig is one of three co- founders of Gateway To Egypt (GWE) for Travel Marketing in the Middle East & Great Wonders of Egypt for sustainable travel to Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East. She received her B.A. in Egyptology & Tourism in 1992 from the Faculty of Tourism & Hotel Management Helwan University of Cairo. Upon graduation she pursued a career as an Egyptologist and guide, and also worked on a Masters Degree in Modern History. However, through her work she realized that there was a huge misconception, misunderstanding and stereotyping about the status of women in the Middle East and Islamic countries. This encouraged her to change course and chose instead to study the Public & Political role of women in Egypt during the 19th century, which became the subject of her thesis. Her research got her quite involved in various issues of women and the community on the national and international scale. Manal prefers to categorize her research and community work under community development support rather than feminist support. Later on, her academic and professional interests expanded to a higher international scale and it involved bridging the cultural gap between the Western & Middle Eastern civilizations.Since the operation of GWE in 2005, her work in the field of tourism along with her community development interests brought to her attention another urgent issue, which is the preservation of the cultural heritage of Egypt whether ancient or Modern. Since then, Manal and her partners became dedicated to operating only responsible travel to Egypt and the Middle East, and developing programs that foster a culture of peace between the travelers and the locals. Their latest project is launching an initiative known as egyptcharity.org which will collect information on as many of the NGOs, voluntourism and related initiatives in Egypt as possible to be available for all travelers.In the past five years, Manal has conducted voluntary work with United Nations organizations, earned her PHD degree, and pursued more studies in the field of Peace & Conflict studies. Manal is a regular speaker in different events related to the travel industry and History & Politics of the Middle East.

Russell Walters

Russell Walters

North America Strategic Director

Born in Windsor, England, Walters has been involved in the adventure travel industry since the early 1980′s. An accomplished kayaker and registered Maine Guide, Walters has experience on the east and west coasts of the U.S. including a four year term as General Manager for O.A.R.S. in Angels Camp, California. Walters returned to Maine in 2000 to become president of Northern Outdoors, a four-season Adventure Resort located in The Forks, Maine.

Walters serves on a number of local, regional and state organizations including as a board member of Maine Huts & Trails and past terms on the governor appointed Maine Tourism Commission. Walters served as one of the original ATTA Advisory Board Members when the organization was relaunched in 2004. He has been involved in a number of programs for the ATTA including presentations in The Phillipines and Brazil and as an AdventureEDU Educator in The Western Balkans, New York and Colorado. He brings a practical and enthusiastic approach to all of his work and thoroughly enjoys collaborating with others to help craft sustainable solutions to everyday business challenges.

Russell serves as an ATTA AdventureEDU educator as well as ATTA’s North America Strategic Director.

Nick Qin

Nick Qin

Director of Business, China

In1986, Nick Qin graduated from the Tourism Department of Hua Qiao University in Fujian, China, and worked for China Travel Service’s Head Office (CTS), one of the largest tour company in China. After 2 years in Chinese tourism experience, Nick joined in the China Tours team as ticketing manager and operations manager in Atlanta, Georgia, the headquarters of  CTS in North America. In 1995, Nick Qin created his own business – China Professional Tours, and has served since as President & CEO. Most of the business is sending professional tours between USA & China, such as students exchange tours, Chinese Gong Fu tours, photo tours, business tours, hiking tours, driving tours, biking tours, etc.

In 2002, Nick Qin was the President of the Miss Universe China Organization, which organized the biggest beauty pageants in China nation wide to select the winner, Miss China Universe, for the Miss Universe Pageant and has continued from that time being involved. Nick Qin joined the American Academy of Hospitality Science, located in New York, to select the best hotel for the Five Star Diamond Award, he was the inspector, trustee and General Manager, China.

In 2005, Nick Qin and his company joined the ATTA and attended numerous Adventure Travel World Summits.  He also became a marathon runner and has run 36 full marathons including the majors in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and more in addition to Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Boston in the US.  Nick is the Director of Business, China, for the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

Murray Bartholomew

Murray Bartholomew

Marketing Manager

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
~Helen Keller

For the last decade, Murray has thrived on the entrepreneurial spirit found within the adventure travel community by supporting businesses who transform lives through travel. Playing a vital role in ATTA since the first Adventure Travel World Summit in 2005, Murray’s passion is making ideas and events come to life through the art of business. On top of his role as the marketing manager for the association, Murray manages storytelling projects with a team of videographers and photographers that help inspire travelers to pack their bags and adventure.

A global traveler and Eagle Scout, Murray and his family reside in Leavenworth, Washington, an adventurer’s mecca, where he works in a tiny house he built and lived in for three years in the Cascade Mountains.

Amber Silvey

Amber Silvey

Director, Event Operations

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.”
~Unknown

Living in the ‘precious present’ is how Amber Silvey lives her life. Originally from British Columbia, Canada, she has lived up and down the West Coast and has settled in the beautiful Northwest of the US. Her passion now is family filled with outdoor activities to pass on her and her husband’s love of adventure to their three children. Free days are spent hiking, camping, traveling, dancing, skiing and exploring.

Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and has worked in various fields of law, marketing, sales, management, and event planning. In the summer of 2005, Shannon Stowell called and asked her to interview for a Director of Operations position for the first Adventure Travel World Summit in Seattle, WA. She has been with the ATTA ever since and loves every minute of it.

Alice Gifford

Alice Gifford

Events Content Manager

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”
~Tina Fey

Growing up with an active, creative and supportive family, Alice spent each winter in Savannah, Georgia and each summer on the coast of Maine. While she did not grow up camping or participating in outdoor sports, something drew her to Jackson Hole, Wyoming one summer to work as a whitewater rafting guide. It was here she discovered her passion for adventure travel. She spent the following year studying and backpacking throughout Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand, combining her love of the arts and her newfound passion for wilderness. Upon her return, she became an editorial intern with National Geographic Adventure magazine, graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, and promptly moved to the West Coast, where the ocean and mountains were calling her name.

She worked a stint onboard a small cruise ship along the Columbia River – no better introduction to the Pacific Northwest! – and edited for The Mountaineers Books. After a few years with a travel and nature stock photography company, she found herself yearning to be the one inside the photos rather than cataloguing them. This desire led her to Adventure Associates of WA, an eco-sensitive tour operator specializing in meaningful worldwide travel experiences for women. Here she developed a strong rapport among trip participants and fellow tour operators, a deep sense of company loyalty, and firsthand knowledge of the challenges involved in niche marketing.

Alice’s passion is to foster sustainable lifestyles and environmental and cultural stewardship within the outdoor recreation industry. Having worked as a guide and in adventure travel media, she brings an insider’s perspective to the ATTA. Her role has developed from the first Member Advocate in 2009 to Director of Community Development in 2013 and most recently Events Content Manager. Alice lives with her husband, daughter and son in Washington state.

Christina Beckmann

Christina Beckmann

Director, Research and AdventureEDU

“The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”
~Samuel Butler

Christina created and leads the AdventureEDU program for the Adventure Travel Trade Association. In this role she is responsible for designing and managing professional training programs to enhance regional economic development for clients in both emerging markets and in under-developed regions of developed countries. Christina works closely with small businesses, social enterprises, international development agencies, governments, and foundations. She also develops and leads the ATTA’s research program, prioritizing research needs and developing projects to address them.

Prior to joining the ATTA, Christina worked from 2004 – 2013 as a consultant and researcher supporting governments and tour operator clients in adventure tourism development. As the founder and President of Xola Consulting (2004 – 2011) Christina led numerous study teams and workshops in countries around the world with a particular focus on strengthening entrepreneurs and supporting local market expansion through connection to international partners. In 2011 when Xola Consulting was acquired by Vital Wave Consulting, Christina supported projects on behalf of global foundations (Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation) focused on environmental policy, poverty alleviation and healthcare throughout the developing world. She has in-depth experience working with small businesses in countries around the world including recent projects in China, Brazil, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and many others.

In 2008 Christina initiated the Adventure Tourism Development Index, drawing together key partners (The George Washington University and the Adventure Travel Trade Association) to raise awareness for the adventure industry and promote its sustainable development.

She has served as an advisor to the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Development and the World Travel and Tourism Council and to start-up technology companies providing services to the adventure travel market: Pathwrangler, Xola, Inc.

Prior to her work in adventure tourism, Christina worked as a management consultant at BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) with a diverse range of clients including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Navy and communications companies such as Bell Atlantic and Nextel Communications. Her projects emphasized process analysis and re-design, market research and project management for technology software and hardware implementations.

Christina speaks regularly at industry and academic conferences on topics ranging from small business management to humanitarian aid and international development through responsible tourism. She holds a BA in Communication from Cornell University, an MA in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University, and an MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from American University. Originally from Alaska, Christina now lives in San Francisco, California.

Maria Borisov

Maria Borisov

Partnerships & Marketing

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"”
~Hunter S. Thompson

Maria was born in Ukraine, raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, and moved to the Seattle area in grade school. She traveled often with her family, road tripping throughout North America, riding camels in Turkey, sampling cheeses in France, sailing in Greece, trekking along the coast of Italy – developing the travel bug at an early age!

 

After spending her adolescence and early college years exploring Europe and North America, she jumped on a plane and continued her dream journey of visiting all seven continents! Maria spent several months backpacking around New Zealand and the South Pacific, followed by some time walking along the Great Wall of China, and island hopping in Hong Kong. She has climbed massive sand dunes, kayaked with thousands of fur seals, and was charged by rhinos while on foot in Namibia! Driven by her love for nature and Latin culture, she has taken many trips to Latin America, where she fell in love with the people, the land, and the food!

Some of her favorite memories have been made in the mountains and turquoise lakes of Patagonia, the coastal fishing villages and the jungle in Ecuador, and while getting up close and personal with humpback whales in Alaska and sea turtles in the Galapagos.

Maria studied sustainable tourism development in college, and since then she has spent her career working at both small and large companies in the adventure travel industry. At ATTA, Maria is the Special Projects Lead for Marketing, where she stays energized by being involved in many business ventures!

At home in the Pacific Northwest, Maria enjoys hiking with her husband and furry dog child, camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, and sipping local wine while feeding friends and family from her unruly fruit and vegetable garden!

Her passion lies in spreading the wonder and beauty of a sustainable lifestyle and of adventure travel to her friends, family, and everyone she encounters!

Jessica Inge

Jessica Inge

Office and Account Manager

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Jessica is a Pacific Northwest native, born and raised in the Seattle area. The travel bug hit during her teenage years and kicked off with a trip to South Africa. Mexico and Canada are just a few other places she has had the opportunity to explore and learn. She will never forget the first time she heard a lion roar in the wilds of Africa while on safari, or being welcomed into the kitchen of dear friends in Mazatlan and being taught to cook real Mexican food with their pet Tarantula keeping watch nearby! Being able to help others while exploring the world has drawn her to many locations – from helping doctors provide free medical care in remote populations to building houses for those living in scrap metal shacks; serving has been an integral part of her travel experience.

In 2008, a friend invited her along for a 3-day backpacking trip on the Washington Coast. Ever since then, Jessica has been an avid hiker and backpacker – she cannot get enough of the beautiful world around her!

Jessica earned her B.A. in Business Management from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. After spending over a decade working in the medical industry, she began to pursue the idea of finding a new career – one that would inspire joy, challenge her in every way, and serve others. Enter the ATTA! After a few good chats with Shannon and other team members and one whirlwind trip to the 2012 ATWS in Switzerland she joined the team and has definitely found her tribe and is excited to serve all members and staff.

Jessica and her Husband/Adventure Buddy/Best Friend, Jerome currently live in Monroe, WA and enjoy finding/building unique-vintage inspired furniture for their home (a favorite piece is the homemade couch made of recycled Volkswagen bus seats), playing and listening to all kinds of music, cooking large meals for everyone they know and of course, adventuring in the great outdoors.

Sarah Pickard

Sarah Pickard

Member Advocate

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”
~Susan Sontag

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Sarah has loved the outdoors since day one. Her favorite childhood memories are those she spent touring around the San Juan Islands and chasing after salmon on her family’s boat. The adventures didn’t stop there. Life has taken Sarah to many incredible places. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Western Washington University, Sarah spent time in Kenya, Africa working with orphans and building swing sets in nearby townships. Sarah decided she wanted to try out teaching, so she bought a one way ticket to a country she knew nothing about and hoped to land a job in Bangkok, Thailand. After a year full of lesson planning, scuba certifications and endless beach trips, Sarah decided to come home only to leave again eight months later. This time to Ketchikan, Alaska where she worked at a fishing lodge. It’s no wonder Sarah has such a wanderer’s heart. Her grandparents were born in South America and Europe and her parents were born in England and Ireland, of which Sarah just became a dual citizen.And with roots in travel that grow deep, it is with much enthusiasm that Sarah takes on the role of Member Advocate at the ATTA; working with companies within the travel industry is a role that comes naturally to an avid traveler. It is Sarah’s mission to connect with ATTA Members and assist them in maximizing their membership.

On any given weekend, you can find Sarah outside hiking, biking, camping, skiing, fishing or playing soccer. Sarah also loves all things food, especially desserts. Many of Sarah’s hours are also spent volunteering with local branches of the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Camp Goodtimes West (a camp for kids with or whom have survived cancer) as well as being the Donor Relations personnel for the non-profit Two Feet Project based in Kenya.

Gabriella Stowell

Gabriella Stowell

Regional Manager of Latin America

“You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen”
~Paulo Coelho

Gabi was born in São Paulo state, Brazil. Leaving next to the Atlantic Forest she fell in love with nature and the outdoors. At the age of 12, she joined a NGO that protected and studied the ecology of the Japi Forest in southeastern Brazil. The passion for nature motivated her to study ecology in college. After her first year, she became a guide in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland area. This was her dream job: guiding and teaching environmental education.

After two years living and working in a very remote place in Pantanal she came back to São Paulo state to finish her ecology degree. After graduating, she worked at a rafting company in Brotas, São Paulo state. Then she came back to Pantanal, working as a guide and receptionist at small lodge even more remote.

Gabi wanted to learn more about the different ecosystems of Brazil, so she moved to the region of canyons of Santa Catarina state to work at an eco resort, where she created their adventure department, responsible for the guests activities and the sustainability program.

After working with several small companies, she realized that the main struggle for small companies was the business administration itself. So, she moved to the capital of the state to study MBA. While studying for that she taught English. After graduating, she became a manager of an adventure travel operator in the island of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina state.

Today she works for the ATTA, as our Regional Manager for Latin America. Gabi works closely with our members and partners in countries across Latin America for all their strategic adventure tourism needs.

Gergana Nikolova

Gergana Nikolova

Development Lead – Europe

Three things best describe Gergana: passionate about sustainable tourism, eager for new challenges and with a truly Balkan heart.Gergana was born in Sofia (Bulgaria) in a family where being citizen of the world was a fundamental value. She started learning English and Russian when she was six. By the age of 11 she had already lived in both the UK and the US. By the age of 15 she added German to her language portfolio. Later she also studied Spanish and most recently Serbian.Gergana’s bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management is from Sofia University. In 2005 a student summer work program sent Gergana to Washington, D.C., where she worked at a Starwood property and was later extended an offer to move to the U.S. and work for another Starwood property in the Washington, D.C., area. During the three years of valuable work experience in the U.S., Gergana enrolled in The George Washington University School of Business and obtained a graduate degree in Sustainable Tourism Management. During her studies she also worked as a research assistant and took part in a student consultancy project in the Atitlan Lake area in Guatemala.In 2008 Gergana’s heart took her back to Bulgaria and the Balkans. She worked as an independent tourism consultant for different projects, including a series of European Union-funded projects (in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey). Her most important engagement in the last few years is with the USAID Regional Competitiveness Initiative (RCI) where she served as Regional Tourism Expert. She led the the National Geographic Maps Division team in the Balkans for the development of a regional promotional MapGuide portal (www.BalkansGeotourism.travel) – an initiative that brought together several post-conflict countries in the Balkans to work together.Gergana’s first formal contact with ATTA took place during a regional meeting in Montenegro attended by ATTA’s Executive Director-Europe Chris Doyle. Since then, Chris and Gergana have collaborated on numerous activities – an AdventureEDU training in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013), another AdventureEDU training in Macedonia (2014) and the first European AdventureWeek (in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia) (2014).Throughout her career, Gergana developed strong strategic planning and management experience that considers the multidimensional nature of the tourism industry as well as the complexity of the stakeholder network it involves. She has worked with a variety of international development agencies and across countries with different socio-economic profiles.

Gergana is a nature lover, active skier and adrenaline seeker. She currently lives in Sofia with her boyfriend Nasko and her dog Chrisma. She enjoys being close to her family and friends while working in tourism on global level.

Natasha Martin

Natasha Martin

Regional Manager - Africa

Natasha Martin is a tourism consultant specializing in adventure tourism destination marketing, research and market expansion into non-traditional and frontier destinations.   Areas of expertise include strategic and online marketing for emerging tourism destinations, Gen Y adventure travelers trends, social media for tourism destinations and tourism research.  Past clients include destinations such as Nepal, Palestine, Myanmar, Greenland, Namibia, Northern Peru, India, tour operators in Newfoundland, Mexico and Argentina and industry associations in Brazil and the USA. Natasha was ATTA’s key point of contact during the ATWS 2013, which was held in Namibia.

Natasha has guest lectured at The George Washington University on the topics of social media for tourism destinations and viral campaigns for tourism destinations and delivered workshops in Namibia and Uganda on online tourism marketing.

Natasha has a BA Honors in African history from Concordia University and a Master of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University.

Natasha speaks French and Spanish. She is based in Yangon, Myanmar.

Tami Fairweather

Tami Fairweather

Event Media and Adventure Media Membership Manager

A communications, events, strategic partnerships consultant and writer, Tami’s 20+ year career in marketing has spanned the nonprofit, entertainment, arts, outdoor and travel industries with one common theme of purpose – connecting people to experiences that bring life to life. Prior to working with the ATTA, she served as global public relations manager for Cascade Designs’ family of outdoor gear brands and media relations manager for ExOfficio travel apparel and underwear. Tami currently manages ATTA’s media at events and the Adventure Media Membership program. Born and raised bicoastally in Massachusetts and Washington State, her current home base is in New Orleans. She holds a BA with honors in commercial recreation with an emphasis in tourism.

Garth Reckers

Garth Reckers

Web Developer

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
~Charlie Chaplin

From a young age, Garth was destined to be in the web development industry. Given his first job at the age of 13, where he was tasked to review, test and provide feedback on HTML coding tutorials. After graduation, he accepted an opportunity to return to coding as part of the web development and design company, PixelMill. During this time, he built web design templates, assisted with graphic design projects, and performed site maintenance for various companies, including the ATTA.

Later that year, Garth also joined the ATTA at the Adventure Travel World Summit in Norway where he helped the storytelling team with photography and videography, two of his other passions. Expecting to experience some adventure at the summit, he was not prepared for this trip. Then again, what can prepare you for a cruise in near hurricane like weather? Especially standing in the front of the ship and dodging waves tall enough to come over the top of a cruise liner. This was enough for him to officially catch the adventure travel bug.

In the years that followed, Garth continued to teach himself to be a web developer, built custom sites for clients and graduated from American River College with an Associates in Social Sciences. In early 2013, Garth took on a part-time roll with the ATTA before joining the team full time that fall.

When not being a ninja of all things web, Garth likes to spend time with his wife, shoot photos, play guitar and watch films.

JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen

Managing Editor, AdventureTravelNews.com

JoAnna Haugen is an American expat currently living in Kyiv, Ukraine, and ATTA’s managing editor for AdventureTravelNews. A graduate of Washington State University, she majored in public relations and received a double minor in international business and German. JoAnna’s adventurous nature has led her to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, whitewater raft both the Nile and Colorado Rivers, crawl through a burial cave in the Cook Islands and hike the 210-mile John Muir Trail in California.

She is a widely published writer with work appearing in more than 60 print and online publications including BBC, CNNGo, American Way, Modern Luxury, Popular Science and several AAA magazines. In addition to her role at ATTA, JoAnna is an editor for the International News Media Association. She has also been a contributing editor for Travel Weekly and a travel columnist for the Orange County Register.

Tereza Georgieva

Tereza Georgieva

Special Projects - Europe

Born, raised and currently residing in Bulgaria, Tereza spent most of her years on the Bulgarian Black Sea Cost.  Always appreciating challenges and curious about exploring new and “hidden” places, she’s gained her passion for traveling from her parents. Her driving interests combine diplomacy and marketing, which is what led her to her double major in Business Administration, with a specialization in Marketing, and in Political Science & International Relations in The American University in Bulgaria. During her four years earning her degrees, she was active in two summer work programs in the US working in the tourism sector, successfully engaged in various projects and internships in the marketing and communications field, and was an active contributor to several university conferences.

Active with the ATTA Europe team, she is directly involved in ATTA Member advocacy and business development, as well as provides organizational support for the upcoming conference AdventureNEXT Balkans May 2016 in Ohrid, Macedonia. Tereza, who describes her work as a combination of exploring new cultures, meeting new people and having a great team, has helped to open up a whole new horizon for her interests and ambitions.

James Anderson

James Anderson

North America Partnership Development

James Anderson is a tourism marketer specializing in adventure and sustainable travel. He has worked with destinations, operators, and hospitality clients on social media campaigns, search marketing, marketing channel development, and general communications for consumers and partners. In addition he has spoken at conferences as a digital marketing expert across Canada and is a guest lecturer at Royal Roads University for the MBA program on the topic of integrated marketing and communications.

James holds a bachelor of Tourism Management with a minor in Spanish from Vancouver Island University. He serves as the Canadian Member Advocate for the ATTA.

Diego Arelano

Diego Arelano

Latin America Project Manager

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
~Samuel Beckett

Diego was born in Sao Paulo and raised all over Brazil. Ultimately arriving in Brasilia, he completed his bachelors in Communication and Media Studies at the University of Brasilia. Ambitious to take advantage of the growing social media market, in 2011, Diego founded and grew his own successful advertising and marketing company, Table – Agência Digital. In 2013, following his passions and personal interests, he was selected by Embratur, the Brazilian tourism board, to lead their eco and adventure tourism division.

Diego regularly attended Adventure Travel World Summits as a Brazil representative; he led numerous sponsored Brazilian events within these gatherings, specifically in Namibia, Ireland, and Chile. In collaboration with ATTA, Diego was an essential organizer and the key in-country contact for ATTA’s first AdventureWeek in Brazil, 2016, in the Pantanal and Bonito.

At ATTA Diego is a specialist in Latin American ventures and project development.

He has lived in Hawaii and Seattle but currently resides in Sao Paulo, Brazil with his Seattleite fiancée. He has spent time on safari in the South African Savannah, exploring the islands of Croatia, discovering the mountains and beaches of Thailand, chasing the northern lights in Alaska, ziplining in the Andes of Peru and trekking in Chile. When he is not exploring the urban jungle and sipping caipirinhas, he is out hiking, surfing rock climbing, mountain biking or snowboarding. He speaks Portuguese, English, and Spanish.

Carrie Horner

Carrie Horner

Special Projects

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin.”
~Mother Theresa

Swimming in the brisk waters of the Pacific Northwest, hiking through the Cascade Mountain Range, and camping in a variety of national and state parks, Carrie considers herself fortunate to have grown up in a family that embraced and explored the outdoors. Whether it was sliding down muddy hillsides into creeks, running up and down a soccer field, whizzing past her father on the ski slopes, or going on family bike rides, she lived an active childhood, which laid the foundation for a life full of adventure. Setting out from her family, as a young adult, Carrie had the opportunity to journey on several backpacking trips in the Canadian Rockies and a sailing excursion through the alluring San Juan Islands of Washington State. On these trips Carrie’s eyes wereopened to the mystery, beauty, and majesty of Creation, and a hunger was unleashed to discover the people and places of this world. While an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, Carrie married Tyson who shared these sentiments towards nature. Upon completing a B.A. in Psychology, they moved to Sun Valley, Idaho to work and play…well, let’s be honest, not much work took place with the limitless ski terrain of Bald Mountain as a backyard. During her time in Sun Valley, Idaho, Carrie grew to cherish a slow-paced, small-town lifestyle and integrated the values of living presently and living simply into her being. Other notable outdoor moments have included biking through the captivating countryside of Czech Republic, taking in the marvelous night-lights of Budapest while cruising down the Danube River, snorkeling and swimming in the waterfall-fed lagoons of Maui, and training for multiple triathlons in the outdoor playground of the greater Seattle area.

Professionally, Carrie holds a M.A. in Counseling from Seattle University. She has worked as the Regional Intake Coordinator for Meier Clinics and the Program Coordinator for Monroe Public Schools’ GEAR UP Scholars Project. In her community she has actively served, volunteering as a volleyball coach at the local Boys and Girls Club and as a leader for her church’s youth group. Carrie now lives in Monroe, Washington, where she and her husband welcomed of a beautiful girl to their family in 2007. The prospect of giving back what she received as a child and opening her daughter’s eyes to the wonders of this world is exciting for Carrie.

In the fall of 2007, with the arrival of her daughter, Carrie underwent a career shift and began working with the ATTA in database development. Her focus now includes supporting the Business Development Team and assisting the membership program. It is Carrie’s hope that pairing her enthusiasm for activity and the outdoors with her experience in the human service sector will enable her to make valuable connections and contributions in the adventure travel industry.


ATTA Associates

Moe Carrick

Moe Carrick

Strategic Partner, Consultant

Moementum (www.moementum.com) Founder and Principal Moe Carrick has woven a cohesive and provocative tapestry of personal leadership experiences, Fortune 100 consulting, academic and institutional learning, keynote addresses, authorship, strategic partnering, and masterful facilitation. Her diverse background, which spans more than two decades, makes Moe an ideal partner for those who possess the power and desire to achieve concrete and lasting change for themselves and their organizations.

Moe grounds her approach in a unifying and undeniable truth: successful work is dependent upon human relationships. Moe believes that people and human relationships can stand between our successes and failures when not managed well. Her work begins and ends at the critical juncture where people and organizations must solve root issues while simultaneously sustaining the motivation to become better.

Counted as one of the nation’s foremost leaders in adventure learning, one of Moe’s on-river forays with senior executives on the nation’s most threatening white-water rapid were recorded in Fast Company’s, “Extreme Off-Site” feature story (1999). Straddling mainstream organizational consulting with best-of-the-best wilderness education as faculty for the National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound, and Project Adventure, Moe’s varied contributions to people and organizations have consistently stimulated positive ripple effects with direct and favorable impact to the bottom line.

Her lifelong adventurous spirit and story-telling prowess coupled with her inspirational, witty, and humorous style, earn Moe rave reviews following keynote addresses, training events, and consulting experiences. Her visionary mind allows her to translate her experiences into engaging and interactive presentations, which both predict and reflect emerging trends.

Moe holds a BA from the University of New Hampshire, an MS in Organizational Development from Antioch University, and numerous relevant certifications.

Nikola Mladenovic

Nikola Mladenovic

ATTA Associate

Born and raised in Serbia, Nikola has left home early to pursue education and work opportunities abroad. Over the past few years, he has lived in 5 different countries and traveled to 30 more. Although truly Balkan at heart, Nikola constantly longs for the beauty of the Iberian Peninsula and the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Some of his favorite adventures include: camping in Idaho and Northern Finland, rafting and kayaking in Bosnia and Herzegovina, water skiing in Iowa, road trips across Portugal and Vancouver Island, and traveling in a marshrutka over the mountains of Georgia and Armenia.

Passionate about the environment and sustainability, Nikola has previously run his own NGO in order to tackle the issue of electronic waste recycling in Serbia. Over the four summer seasons on Nantucket Island, he has also gained a valuable work experience in tourism and hospitality industry. In addition, Nikola has a strong interest and experience in event planning, logistics, and operations management.

Nikola holds undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and Political Science and International Relations from American University in Bulgaria and is currently working towards Master’s degree in Operations Management at Nova School of Business and Economics. At ATTA, Nikola supports team Europe with administrative and program tasks.


Advisory Board

The ATTA would like to thank the following individuals for their participation with our Advisory Board. Follow the link to learn more about these incredible people.

Malia Asfour Director, Jordan Tourism Board North America

Steve Barker Principal, Wild Places LLC

Erik Blachford Venture Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures

Paul Easto CEO, The Wilderness Collective

Urs Eberhard Executive VP Markets & MICE, Switzerland Tourism

Richard Edwards Founder, ecoism

Fernando Escudero Founder of AUTENTICA SALTA and Founder and Vice President of AAETAV (Argentinian Adventure Travel Trade Association)

Alfredo Ferreyros President, Explorandes

Kristian B. Jorgensen Managing Director, Fjord Norway Tourist Board

Perry Lungmus Vice President, Travel Leaders

Maria Elena Malpezzi Price Co-Owner, ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours

Praveen Moman Co-founder and Managing Director, Volcanoes Safaris

Jim Sano WWF’s Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation

Rob Torres Managing Director of Travel, Google

Richard Weiss CEO, Strategic Travel Consulting, USA

Chun Wright Law Office of Chun T. Wright, PLLC

Adventure Media Advisory Group

Lyn Hughes Editor-in-Chief, Wanderlust

MaSovaida Morgan Destination Editor, Lonely Planet

Jen Murphy Freelance Writer & Editor

Tim Neville Freelance Writer

Jackie Nourse Blogger & Podcaster, Traveling Jackie

Norie Quintos Consultant & Editor at Large, National Geographic

Ken Shapiro Editor-in-Chief, TravelAge West

Dan Westergren Photographer, National Geographic Traveler

Emeritus Members

Mike Adams Travel Footwear, W. L. Gore and Associates

Richard Bangs Adventurer, Entrepreneur, Author, Producer and Director

Eric Brodnax EVP, Digital Products, National Geographic Society

William L. Bryan, Jr., Ph.D. Founder, Off the Beaten Path

Jeff Dossett Chief Executive Officer, AdventureLink, Inc.

Francis X. Farrell Former Publisher, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure Magazines

Nicky Fitzgerald Pangaea Associates

Rick Hemmerling Vice President Business Development – Buzz Off Insect Shield LLC

John Hogan Director, Qatar Airways

Kurt Kutay Founding Director & President of Wildland Adventures

Maxi Pia Louis Director, NACSO

Thornton May Contributing Futurist, World Bank

Megan McCormick TV Show host for Globetrekkers

Helen Nodland Director, Member Sales & Service at Virtuoso, Ltd.

John Poimiroo Principal, Poimiroo & Partners; former Director of Tourism, California

Everett Potter Author, Journalist

Gustavo Timo Co-founder of ABETA (Brazilian Adventure Travel Trade Association)

Steve Trautman Principal, Solution Strategies; former Expedia manager

Ed Viesturs Adventurer, Author and America’s Leading High-Altitude Mountaineer

Mei Zhang Founder, WildChina

   
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